Parish priest of Tavira appeals for everyone's help to restore the city's churches

São Paulo Church and São Braz Chapel are the ones that need the most urgent interventions

Father Miguel Neto – Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação

Churches where it rains inside, roofs falling down, parts in need of restoration and exteriors in need of urgent repair: this is the state of most of the churches in the Parish of Tavira, which now leads the priest in charge to appeal for everyone's help to solve the problem.

After some maintenance work on the churches of Santiago, Santa Maria and the Chapel of Consolação, which included cleaning channels and downspouts, removing weeds, repairing roofs, wood, tiles and cracks, it is now necessary to replace the money spent on these works so that new investments can be made for the remaining churches in need (namely the Church of São Paulo and the Chapel of São Braz).

In the case of the Church of Santa Maria do Castelo, property of the State, major restorations are now being carried out, with financial support from the Municipality, through European funds, but Father Miguel Lopes Neto, parish priest of Tavira, emphasizes that «all the help it is necessary so that it is possible to continue to conserve the historical and religious heritage» of the city. Furthermore, Tavira is known as «the Rome of the Algarve», such is the number of churches and chapels in the city.

«If each parishioner, I don't think so for the inhabitants, contributed with 10 euros, it would be enough for us to be able to carry out some more necessary tasks like those that are being done here», he told the Sul Informação.


Church of Santa Maria do Castelo belongs to the State and is now being restored. Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


«The cost of labor is expensive, everything is expensive and it is also important that the population be involved, especially the population of Tavira, who are often opinionated about their heritage and conservation. I want to ask people for this opportunity, to contribute to maintaining the heritage that is the responsibility of the parishes», continues the priest, stressing that help is even more necessary at a time when tourist visits are decreasing.

Yes, it's just that, in the Parish of Tavira, one survives not only on the amount raised in the offerings and the donations that people make at baptisms and weddings, but also on the funds raised by the Artgilão store, where traditional items and merchandising to tourists and visitors.

"A Artgilão was created in 2017, essentially with the aim of raising funds for the maintenance and restoration of the churches – and the help has, in fact, been a lot, for what we have been able to do, but it is not enough», says Father Miguel Neto, referring that, with the pandemic, tourism revenues have dropped significantly and the recovery that took place last summer is not enough for all the necessary works.

«It arrived so that, now, with these heavy rains, we could safeguard the structures, but there are other churches in need of urgent intervention».


Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


Pastor in Tavira since 2016, director of the Pastoral do Turismo Portugal and also responsible for the team at the Pastoral Diocesana do Turismo, Father Miguel Neto has played a great role in linking religion to tourism in the Algarve and, in particular, in Tavira.

In addition to the Artgilão project, the parish will now put into practice an initiative of guided visits to all churches, together with Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Tavira.

«It's a way of making the most of what we have and also showing people the state in which the heritage is», said Miguel Neto.

Diogo Sousa, a volunteer at Artgilão since July, will be one of those responsible for these guided tours and understands that the project will be «an asset, not only for the parish, but also for residents and tourists».


Diogo Sousa, graduated in History and Heritage, and volunteer at Artgilão. Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


«Often, the inhabitants themselves are fond of heritage and history, but they do not have exact knowledge of the place where they live and Artgilão helps in that sense too: to take people to heritage and culture».

In the Church of Santa Maria do Castelo, despite major restoration work being carried out, the doors remain open so that the population and tourists can also “watch what is being done”, continues Diogo Sousa.

Until these projects manage to raise the necessary amount, Father Miguel Lopes Neto appeals to everyone's help, through the acquisition of Artgilão products or direct donation to the parish's IBAN (PT50001800034607887902078 ).


complete bank details
IBAN: PT50001800034607887902078
Banco Santander Totta SA
Account holder: Fab Igreja P Stª Maria Castelo


Photos: Mariana Sedge | Sul Informação



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